THE BLOG
04/04/2018 17:06 BST | Updated 04/04/2018 17:06 BST

London Is Not The Electoral Test For Labour

It's constituencies like Thurrock, Basildon and Harlow, where the Tory MPs now have larger majorities than they did in 2010, where Labour must be winning council seats comfortably

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There appears to be two certainties in British politics at the moment. The first is that Labour is set to clean up across the capital in this year’s Local Elections, with the already solid Labour city of London due to keep the red flag flying high on 3 May by electing Labour Councillors in North, East, South and West London.

The second certainty is that Labour will absolutely win the next General Election and Corbynmania will sweep the country again in 2022 - but this time hoovering up the 70 marginal towns and Scottish seats needed to form a majority government.

While it is perfectly possible to see Remain-voting London flocking to Labour amid a Conservative party that is now wedded to the folly of Brexit and with a Labour mayor in Sadiq Khan that is bringing about real reform, it is hard to understand where the certainty over the next General Election comes from.

In the nine months since the General Election there has been no meaningful analysis as to why Labour lost to the most incompetent Conservative campaign in living memory. As far as most people can see, we are betting Labour will win next time because they only just lost this time. It’s hardly scientific.

Instead the real barometer of whether the country really has been swept up in Corbynmania post-General Election, will be seeing how Labour perform outside of London in this year’s local elections. In constituencies like Thurrock, Basildon and Harlow, where the Tory MPs now have larger majorities than they did in 2010, Labour must be winning back council seats comfortably off of the Conservatives.

If Labour is able to do that, then there is a real chance that the next General Election is Labour’s to win. If Corbyn’s connection with the public in these bellwether areas does not translate to seats, there is real cause to throw a healthy dose of scepticism on predictions of a Labour victory in 2022.

What simply won’t wash is an election night in which London turns a sea red whilst the Tories hold on in the towns across the Eastern and South East regions, being painted as a brilliant night for Labour.

London is not the electoral test for Labour this May.